To begin the 2012-13 season, Taj Gibson signed a four-year, $33 million contract extension. In the previous season, Gibson showed his potential and that he could be of good use to the Bulls, so he very well deserved the contract extension. But because of that, the expectations were higher, and unfortunately, he still has yet to live up to them.
At the start, Gibson struggled to play as the player Bulls fans have come to know. He may have averaged 6.9 points in the first 10 games, but he only scored in double digits in three of the games. Even more importantly, Gibson failed to make his presence truly known on the glass by never posting double digit rebounds. Along with that, he did not go to the free throw line in four of those games.
He continued to be inconsistent for a good portion of the season. Fortunately, Gibson came around as the season went on. His points average went up each month, until April that is. His rebounding numbers also got better, though they did not increase each month. Gibson’s best month came in February, when he averaged 10.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.5 steals, 1.6 blocks, 53.1% from the field, and 28.0 minutes of playing time.
But to Gibson’s dismay, his best month ended with him on the inactive list. During a 72-102 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 25, Gibson left the game after spraining his left knee. An MRI revealed that he suffered an MCL sprain. As horrible as it sounds, it seems fitting, as the Bulls’ season was defined with injuries. They just kept piling on. It was as if something good could not occur without a mishap following it.
Nearly a month later, Gibson finally returned in an 89-99 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, in which he posted 14 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block. From then on, he actually managed to finish out the regular season averaging 9.44 points, 5 rebounds, 1.33 assists, and 1.22 blocks. However, just as he got himself going again, of course something else had to go wrong.
Yet again, the Bulls were hit with bad luck as Gibson re-sprained his left MCL. It actually happened during the Bulls’ 86-90 loss to the Washington Wizards on April 2nd, but he was able to play for the last two games of the season.
Gibson was also able to play throughout the playoffs as well, but his season also ended as it began: inconsistently. Of the 12 playoff games, he only scored in double figures three times and never rebounded in double figures either. It is worth noting that he averaged 6.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 17 minutes of playing time. Still, Gibson needed to be a bigger factor in the Bulls’ playoff run.
Overall, Gibson had a decent season. He improved on his scoring averages from last season, and he maintained his rebounding average, but what really makes his season decent are the expectations that were placed upon him. Despite that, he was able to work around those expectations as the season lingered on. It is just unfortunate that injuries came in the way of his progress.
Final Grade: C+